The long awaited debut of Manny Diaz and “The New Miami” is finally upon us, and the anticipation has been a slow build. Many national analysts don’t expect much out of the Canes, and think Saturday night will be another disappointment for the once national power. Florida brings the perfect opportunity to build confidence with a victory, and give them a great sense of purpose with an instate rival to focus on. Can Miami win this game? Can this be a springboard for a very good 2019? Will the offense be better? Can Jarren Williams be the present and the future for the Canes? These are all questions that will start to be answered on Saturday night.
What does Miami need to do to win against Florida?
- Take off the training wheels - Jarren Williams won an intense competition to be Miami’s starting QB and the worst thing Dan Enos can do is baby him in week 0. Brad Kaaya was handcuffed in his 1st start at Louisville 6 years ago, and the same can’t happen with Jarren. I don’t want the game plan to be reckless, but allow Williams to get a chance to be a QB and make plays.
2. ChainGang - The defense has been the catalyst for many big games over the past few years under Manny Diaz. The best way to help a young offense is to cause havoc on defense. Feleipe Franks has not been good against great defenses, so Shaquille Quarterman, Trajan Bandy and Michael Pinckney must be ballhawks against the Gators.
3. Start Fast - Confidence is a crazy thing with 18-22 year olds, so Miami getting off to a fast start would work wonders for a team coming off a 7-6 season. Miami got punched in the mouth by LSU in the opener a year ago, so reversing that is paramount. If the Canes can get an early turnover, or an early touchdown drive, the sideline and the swagger will come alive.
4. Special on Teams - Miami was abysmal on special teams in 2018. This can not be the case for Miami if they want to be good this season. How many times would a bad offensive series followed by a 25 yard punt. Louis Hedley needs to live up to the internet hype, Bubba Baxa must improve on a good freshman season and Jeff Thomas needs to break a big return. The Canes must win the field position battle on Saturday night.
5. Ground Attack - Florida loves to pound the rock and control the time of possession. Miami also would like to run the ball with DeeJay Dallas and company, and would love to make things easier for Jarren WIlliams. When Florida lost a season ago, Kentucky smashed Florida with over 300 yards on the ground. The Canes probably need 150 or more as a group to win the game.
Miami has the talent to win this game, and it seems they are being sold really short in predictions around the country. I think Miami will do enough of these correctly, and win 24-19.
GO CANES, see you Saturday in Orlando.